Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000 to 2009.
Quentin Tarantino never opened a film with as much stark, realistic power as he did the Kill Bill series.
The snub-nosed black-and-white sequence filled with blood, sweat, snot and tears concluded with a deafening gunshot and Nancy Sinatra’s voice. The Bride’s (Uma Thurman) need for calculated revenge against Bill and the assassins who betrayed her was thrown like acid on our brains, burned in so we never, ever forgot.
The rest of this blistering bubblegum patchwork of martial arts, fringe-film genres and melodramatic exploitation shined with a visually inventive, kitschy-bright color scheme, and strangely beautiful samurai-warrior poetry.
Each hit sounds like a shotgun blast destroying a dozen bowling balls, blood erupts in geysers and bones break with sickening crunches. During the “Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves,” Robert Richardson’s camera swoops into an acrobatic display of aggression.
While dealing with death, this 2003 thriller feels joyfully alive with surprises, especially Thurman making up with formidable determination what she might lack in imposing physicality. The Bride stalks each frame with the same stoic fury as Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name. (Appropriately, Wu-Tang Clan member RZA’s score hotly mixes together spaghetti Western whistles, fat hip-hop beats and kung fu gongs.)
The cliffhanging plot tease alone lured in audiences for Kill Bill Vol. 2. It’s too bad this epic went out in a blaze of anticlimactic disappointment — better off as one long film. Still, the saga’s sizzling introduction reminded us all why Tarantino is a premier auteur.